Dogs at the Perimeter

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Street 118, Phnom Penh, January 2007

Tree of 12 metres, sculpture by Giuseppe Penone

Tate Modern, London, March 2011

At a time when many artists were abandoning traditional sculptural techniques, Penone began to use perhaps the most ancient method – carving. Using chisels, he followed the knots in the planks to remove rings of wood and expose the shape of a tree.

France, 1987 © Josef Koudelka

There was no chronological order at all. Any page seemed like the first, any page could have been the last. As for the author, although he wrote ‘I’, who was he in the scout platoon? Was he any of those ghosts, or of those remains dug up in the jungle?

—Bao Ninh, from The Sorrow of War

Francis Yates' reconstruction of the memory wheel of Giordano Bruno, from The Art of Memory.

There can be no doubt, only artists are attracted to science… For a profane man they are strange drawings, the details of which are measured in thousandths of a millimeter although they reveal mysterious worlds emanating from the architecture of the brain.

—Santiago Ramón y Cajal, from an interview conducted in 1900, cited in Cajal’s Butterflies of the Soul by Javier Defelipe

Image: visual systems of the brain (1-9). Via Repository of Records.

Sometimes, when I wipe my slightly dusty lenses with a piece of chamois, I have an odd feeling: what if along with the specks of dust that have settled on their glassy concavities I should wipe away all of space? Now you see it, now you don’t: like a sheen.

—Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, from Seven Stories, as quoted by Adam Thirlwell in “The Master of the Crossed Out” in The New York Review of Books.

They could smell the sea long before they got there, the salt heaviness, the fresh green-ness of it. He loved the ocean no matter how desperately cold it was. He’d bought a wetsuit, a used one (he’d had no money for a new one) because he was addicted to the fury of the tide. Those currents knocked him back, they overpowered him, and yet he felt alive, not fragmented, not broken.

Long Beach, Vancouver Island, May 2011.

[fragment]

On November 29, 2005, my friend Dr. Hiroji Matsui
walked out of Montreal’s Brain Research Centre at
7:29 in the evening. On the security video, his expres-
sion gives nothing away. For a brief moment, the camera
captures him in passing: greying hair, neatly combed.
Silver-framed eyeglasses, intense brows, a stubborn
chin, the softness of an old man’s face. He wears no coat,
despite the freezing temperatures, and he carries noth-
ing, not even the briefcase with which he had arrived
that morning. He exits through a side door, down a flight
of metal steps. And then Hiroji walked into the city and
disappeared into air.

My name is Sorya. I am the sister of Dararith. The daughter of Kravann and Mary. The wife of James. I was a teacher.

Photograph © Circa, Getty Images